Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Pictures!

Eating Ice Cream and Riding the Santa Train.


Trailer Life

We are down at Nana and Pop's and staying in the trailer for extra space. I am thankful to have made it safely down here. It's a little strange to be in the trailer again because we haven't been in it for a year. Every time we talked about taking it some place to go camping our schedule just didn't work out this past year. So it is good to be using it again. A few things have changed. Since we are just vacationing in it we don't have nearly the stuff in it that we had. Doug and Andy are now big enough that they are sleeping in the top bunks. Josie is sleeping in a bottom bunk rather than her spot on the floor. At least the kids are excited about sleeping in the trailer.
In some ways it feels a little like coming home because we lived in it for almost 5 months. I have a lot of memories associated with the trailer. There is something about the tight coziness of everything being so close together in the trailer that makes the world feel like a much simpler place.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
We had Christmas whether we were ready or not.
We ran some errand Christmas Eve. Ended up getting to church just as the service was starting. I don't know if it was the sitting with us (rather than the couple the boys sit with while Jim & I sing in the choir), the not having a nap, the different time of day, or what but the boys were really squirrely the entire time. So we (and they) survived. The lady behind us told me at the end of the service that "your children are precious" which are code words for "I enjoyed watching them but am glad they are yours and not mine."
Andy fell asleep in the car on the way home but did manage to wake up to leave cookies for Santa. He picked out seven cookies for the plate and Doug left a packet of hot cocoa in the Santa cup so Santa ate well at our house. Andy even insisted on leaving a napkin for Santa to wipe his face.
Doug was the first one up and came running into our room shouting "Santa came." He emptied his stocking before the other two were even awake. Andy was up next and I thought the poor child was going to cry because Santa had left half of a cookie on the plate. However, I explained that Santa probably got full and had to move on to the next house. That seemed to make him happy and later we thought about how Santa might have had a full belly and even perhaps taken a nap out our house.
Jim started breakfast and when there were twenty minutes left on the timer for the coffee cake Josie ripped into the boys' gift to her. So we did the gifts under the tree. We finished before the timer was done.
I do have some pictures. I don't have any of the carnage directly afterward. I forgot to charge the new camera last night and so I plopped the battery in the charger in between stockings and the tree. I didn't look at it right away so I didn't realize at first that I had the battery upside-down. This sort of follows the trend of me knocking the entire box of dryer sheets into the washer and then washing a load (which was definitely NOT a time saver by the way).
Merry Christmas and give hugs to your family.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And on the third day of Christmas my truelove gave to me....

Three bottles of amoxicillin.
Doug woke up saying that his ear hurt this morning. We decided to take Andy along for good measure. Josie already had been diagnosed with an ear infection on one side. So Doug and Andy have matching ear infections (Doug on the right, Andy on the left). At least we caught them early on.
Now I just need to get everything else done that needs to get done around here. The kids are excited and I'm sure that since they are 3 and 1 that pretty much no matter what I get done and don't get done they will be wowed.

Monday, December 22, 2008

100 times and counting...

Doug has developed a few Christmas/winter fetishes. Last year the only thing that surfaced was that he loved the song "Jingle Bells" and we would get smiles for a month after Christmas as we would enter stores and he would start singing it.
We had a love of hot chocolate two years ago when my brother gave us a Hot Chocolate warmer/machine thing (it wasn't unpacked last year). This year Doug is back to his love of Hot Chocolate (or as he would say...Hot Coffee).
He also currently has an obsession with Rudolph. I don't really know how many times we have now watched the video. We constantly sing the song in the car. We turn up the song in the car when it comes on the radio, and when "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" comes on we turn that up too because Burl Ives sings it at the end of the Rudolph video. Ironically enough I think his favorite part of the video is the snow monster.

Imaginary....

I haven't really heard anything recently about Andy's imaginary friends. However, we have developed an imaginary set of keys. The imaginary set of keys apparently unlocks the car and the house. Occasionally the keys get lost or left some place to be found later. Recently an imaginary watch was added, and this afternoon I learned that apparently he has an imaginary radio in his room that has been playing Christmas music composed by him. I'm a little surprised that the only "cell phone" I have seen has been temporary pretend play.

Busy Day

We had a busy day yesterday. We drove three hours to go to church at our old church in our old town. It was kind of cool because not that many people knew we were coming so when we showed up we had the "oh wow" factor going for us. We hadn't been there since we moved so basically a year and a half had passed.
Then we drove back home to go to a Christmas party with our new church family. It was a lot of fun. The kids had a great time. So much so that when it was time to go they didn't want to leave. There was an ornament swap. We were strategic this year and took two ornaments. Both ornaments were "stolen" at least once. We ended up with a nice wooden Santa and Andy helped me "steal" a fishing snowman. It was fun, but now it is time to clean up the house some and actually get ready for Christmas at our house.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I survived

I survived Wal-mart on the Saturday before Christmas...with three kids in tow...
We needed to go today because there were some ornaments we needed to get for an ornament swap at a Christmas party we are going to tomorrow. So I started by bribing the kids that if they stayed in the cart (rather than walking) they would each get a treat. I was thankful for this because we did actual encounter a little girl who was lost and right as I was heading her towards a Wal-mart clerk her brother showed up.
I got two carts just so the kids could spread out. They helped me pick out the ornaments (a John Deere Tractor and a set of Jingle Bells), we got the food things we needed (which interestingly enough the food section was a lot less busy than the merchandise section), and then we got the Ferrari we needed. A child at our church was going around asking people to get him a Ferrari. Jim, being the slightly twisted guy I married said yes. So hence the trip to the toy section and a Hot Wheels Ferrari. We couldn't find a red one like he wanted but they had white, yellow and silver to choose from (we ended up with white). I had already known that I wouldn't make it out of the Hot Wheels section without the kids wanting a car so promising a new car for good behavior was not a stretch. Doug and Josie each picked different cars with flames and Andy opted for a Matchbox Fire Engine. Doug had his package open before we had even left the aisle and Andy had his out before we reached the check-out. We lucked out and got through the check-out quickly and Josie happily had her car immediately after it crossed the scanner.

Praying for a healthy holiday

This morning I was...depressed, discouraged, devastated...Andy threw-up at breakfast.
I really was having flashbacks to a month ago with Thanksgiving.
I have been feeling lousy the past couple of days. Today, after a shower, I was actually feeling a bit better and a bit more normal. Josie went to the doctor Thursday morning and after digging out ear wax the doctor determined that she had an ear infection in one ear. So Josie is on antibiotics. Andy had coughed a bunch and thrown-up some on Thursday night. Then you get into the whole ...was it the coughing, is it something more, did he just eat too much, there are no other symptoms circle of thinking.
So far today Andy has acted pretty normal and while he didn't eat a regular lunch he did have some animal crackers and some cheese crackers and so far has been fine.
So if you are the praying sort please pray for us to have a healthy holiday.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Survey

A friend sent this too me via email and she posted it on her blog which seemed like a good idea...so here are my answers to the Christmas Survey. If you want to participate feel free to take it also.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both...It's whatever I have on hand (and hasn't been too wrinkled by Andy's need to wrap random items as gifts)
2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial
3. When do you put up the tree? Usually around Thanksgiving...or whenever thereafter my schedule allows
4. When do you take the tree down? As close to New Year as possible
5. Do you like eggnog?I do but I've never had the "real" thing
6. Favorite gift received ever? So many memorable Christmas gifts...I'd have to think for awhile
7. Hardest person to buy for? It varies from year to year...but mostly my mom
8. Easiest person to buy for? my kids
9. Do you have a nativity scene? yes--several because I have been collecting them
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? mail...though recently I've just gone to sending a letter and not actual cards
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A germ...there was a memorable Christmas where half the family was puking
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It's a Wonderful Life (though I like the Muppet Christmas Specials)
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I used to have it done by October, but now I mainly do it mid-November
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I call it "re-gifting" or a Fraggle Gift (see previous movie comment)
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cookies, fudge, sweets....
16. Lights on the tree? Lots and lots...my test is whether I can squint my eyes and still see the shape of the tree
17. Favorite Christmas song? God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? I've probably traveled more than staying home while I have been married...this year I am looking forward to staying home
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes, but I have to sing them
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star, but for a long time we had a bow
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Most on Christmas
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Crazy traffic, people too worried about an "over-the-top" Christmas
23. What theme or color are you using? Theme...what's a theme? If tacky is a theme that is what I have...um, I suppose a better term for my theme is "homey"
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Jim made a fabulous stuffed pork loin one year that comes to mind, I like all of the fixings and sides and variety
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Healthy children

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas To-do list

I'm still wrapping up university related duties (and probably will be for awhile), but I am managing to squeeze in a few Christmas things here and there. I got packages mailed to family and friends who live far away, the Christmas letter is printed but waiting to be addressed, the decorating (or at least what I am going to do of it) is done except that I have to keep re-decorating the tree from Josie (and cat) height down, and we have actually made a few holiday baking items. I'm glad to have a camera again and I need to sit down sometime (not sure when) to figure out how to get pictures off it because I have some to share. I'm shooting not for a picture perfect holiday, but for one that we will all enjoy and remember and hopefully everyone will be healthy.
We went to the boys' preschool Christmas Program today (and I get to go again tomorrow since we are technically enrolled in both the M-W-F and T-Th class so that we are five days a week). It will be interesting to see how it goes tomorrow.
It was as amusing as you know the 4 and under crowd can be. The four year old classes did a Nativity Play. The class is really heavy on girls so there were LOTS of angels. Then they did the class performances starting with the youngest group. So we had young twos, older twos, young threes (which is Doug & Andy's class), and then Jim and I left to get the boys so we didn't see the older threes.
There were all the usual sorts. The children who cried, the children who didn't sing, the children who sang really loudly, the children who stopped singing to wave at their parents, the children with their fingers up their noses, and the children who weren't happy with the spots they were in so they decided to move mid-performance.
Doug and Andy did pretty well. They were not standing next to each other so I don't have any shots on the camera with the two of them in the program. Doug sang and did all the hand-motions for all of the songs. He seemed pretty comfortable and I know that he saw me because he waved and smiled.
Andy had a little bit of the deer in head-lights look about him. He seemed surprised to see all of the parents (and grandparents) there and did not sing for the first couple of songs. Eventually he got into doing hand-motions and by the last song was singing. I couldn't tell if he saw us or not. When we asked him later he said that he did, but it wasn't obvious during the performance. I think he was feeling a bit shy, because at the end of the performance he made a bee-line for Mrs. Michelle who is one of their teachers. He did get back in line but needed the physical reassurance.
We picked the boys up from their classroom after the performance and then, because Jim had taken a half day off to see them, we got to have lunch and the rest of the day with daddy. Yippee!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Future Chef

I'm sure that Andy is going to enjoy cooking and baking in the future. He has been REALLY excited about Christmas baking. A little too excited I think.
We tried to get a small start on baking this weekend (after some massive cleaning). One of the things that Jim wants to make takes graham cracker crumbs and the store was out of the boxes of crumbs so we were going to make our own from whole graham crackers. We had the bowl from our (little) food processor sitting on the counter.
This afternoon I walked into the kitchen and Andy had piled a few pieces of graham crackers that he could find (he already got in trouble for getting into them earlier so he knew not to open the package), Ritz crackers, and cookie crisp cereal all piled into the food processor bowl all ready to be demolished into crumbs.
Hmmm...I do wonder a little bit what it would have tasted like.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

THEY'RE MESSING WITH MY MIND!!!

I'm basically done with MY actual coursework. I just have other ends to tie up. The one I am currently working on is reading and scoring (It's easy...they either pass or fail) undergraduate papers. It's really messing with my mind. I guess for the most part they are decent and I have to remind myself that they are just barely starting their journey into the world of being a teacher, but some you have to wonder about. The grammar, the typos, the "I haven't even bothered to make it look like I am trying and I'm going to resubmit the exact same paper in the hope that you aren't actually going to read it" attitude.
When I sort my brain out and emerge from this mess I'll be back!
Of course I still have to
  • Work on that article I have been working on since last fall (yeah, I know...but November sort of attacked us around here)
  • Get everything set up for all the courses I am teaching next semester
  • Maybe get the house to where I don't feel like I am STILL unpacking (I know it's in a box somewhere....)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I survived

I survived a trip to see Santa. We went after preschool yesterday so that I could get an idea of what the kids wanted before Jim and I did our shopping (we had a shopping date on Friday night).

Tips for seeing Santa....
  • Check when his hours are....we got there and ate lunch (which was a whole ordeal in and of itself because the boys were not in agreement of where we should go) and by the time we were done Santa was on his lunch. We killed time by riding the little Christmas train.
  • Have fresh diapers on. I don't know if we actually peed on Santa but when Doug got up his pull-up was saturated enough that some squished out the back and he had a wet spot about the size of an apple at the back.
  • Beware that your children may be influenced by what they have seen that day. Andy was all about some machine where you put in money and candy comes out (a gumball machine perhaps?) because apparently a child had brought one for share day at preschool.
So I didn't really gain all that much insight about what to get the kids and Jim and I spent somewhere in excess of 2 hours walking around Toys'R Us thinking about what to get the kids. We're at that point where we didn't want to duplicate something we had, we wanted toys that inspire imaginative play, we aren't ready for big gifts like game systems and we're thinking of bikes for their birthday in the Spring, Josie has so many hand-me-down toys already, so it's hard to buy.
We ended up with Planet Heroes stuff for Doug & Andy and Josie is getting her own little Tinkerbell chair to sit in.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Interesting (but true!)

Here are some tidbits:
  • If you drive on a snooze cruise (car trip designed to put kid(s) to sleep for those who are uninitiated) all children except the one who asked for the snooze cruise will fall asleep.
  • If you read every other page of most children's picture books the story will still make sense and you can get through that "one more story please" book faster so they get in bed sooner.
  • Food off your plate apparently tastes better than food off their plate.
  • A child may gorge himself/herself on something at one meal and then refuse to touch it at another meal because he/she "doesn't like that."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rules of Parenting

Here are a few "rules" of parenting that I have decided/discovered over time:
  1. The magic rule of three: I will only pick up the tossed sippy cup/toy/spoon/etc. three times, after the third time of returning all of the clothes to the drawer I no longer care if the clothes are folded, on the third day of returning all of the clothes to the drawer multiple times I no longer care if the clothes are sorted at all.
  2. I can usually find all but one shoe (in my case that means 5 out of 6 shoes).
  3. A child will poop right before you have to head out the door on a day where you are running late.
  4. You must always check the diaper bag and if you leave the diaper bag in the car it is safer to bring extra just in case (which is why I usually have WAY too many diapers because I am always carrying extra out to the car).
  5. Your children behave better for other people because they know you too well.
  6. It doesn't matter how many (or how few) children you have because you will always get the comment "you have your hands full" (even got this once with just Josie when she was not even walking yet).
  7. The favorite shirt/socks/pants will always be in the laundry the day that it would be really helpful to have so that your child would cheerfully find something to wear.
  8. An amazing number of places (even places that have kids menus) don't have changing tables because they apparently figure you will just sequester yourself in your house for the first 2 to 4 years of a child's life. (The good news is that it is possible to do a diaper change with the child standing up if your child isn't too wiggly).
  9. For some strange reason complete strangers will hold the door open for a three year old who is obviously more than 6 feet in front of any associated adult
  10. The day you most need everyone to nap is the day that either no one will or they will nap in tandem so that there is always someone awake.

Christmas in the air

We went to a Christmas parade last night. It was fun but cold. I didn't expect it to be almost 2 hours long so next year we will know to park and walk a little so that if we decide we want to leave early we can get out. The kids had a good time. It always amazes me how Doug can always find a friend. Within seconds of us reaching our spot Doug was playing with another little boy. I was proud that I told my boys not to mess with a business sign and no matter how much the other little boy touched it Doug and Andy did not. Woohoo!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Shopping with Three Year Olds

Shopping trips are interesting these days...especially if it includes not only the kids but also Jim. Andy and Doug want lots of things and Doug is funny because it is not just that he wants an item, but he is particular about which specific bottle or box he wants. I could be going to pick up the same exact item but he wants me to take the one he is pointing at. All the kids are particularly friendly so it is not unusual for me to be walking along and Doug is dancing down the isle or waving at and greeting all who pass. Many a time I have turned around to find some elderly woman talking to Josie.
Today we went and did some shopping with Jim. The boys started pretending that they were fighting monsters and when they started getting loud Jim got them to play that they were sneaking up on monsters. Also, Andy started picking up things he wanted and putting them in the cart (carefully at least because Josie was asleep in the basket), and Doug would point out things he wanted. It was particularly funny when Doug picked up some cookies and said very genuinely, "Maybe these need to come home with us."

Silver Bells

We rang the bell today for the Salvation Army. Our church is providing ringers for the entrance to the mall for Saturdays before Christmas. I will say that two friendly three year olds in Santa hats bring in a lot more donations than just an adult standing there. However, their attention span for it is only about 15-20 minutes when it is cold outside.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Riding on the range

I was looking at pictures since I finally got a new camera (and I actually have it in hand now....long story). Anyway, apparently I took this video back in August. Yes, there were still boxes upstairs at that point.
video

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Two Little Guys

Doug & Andy are interesting fellows. I joke that having twins was the best science experiment I ever did. They are just so different.

Doug: He can be loud but he sometimes still resorts to sounds rather than words when he is upset. He over generalizes labels (ALL balls are soccer balls or whatever the current ball is he is hooked on, ALL berries are strawberries, etc.) He loves to color, he used to love yellow but his current favorite is pink. He loves cars and trains and anything that could be classified as transportation. He thinks he is the center of attention where ever he goes (he greets people or says good-bye to random people where ever we go). He is more cautious than Andy and he is a little bit of a perfectionist (we are working on resilience so that he will not get frustrated). He easily fits in with any group of children at a play area...it doesn't matter whether the children are slightly older or slightly younger.

Andy: He talks nonstop....just about everything that is in his brain comes out of his mouth (you can "hear" the wheels turning). He sorts out the relationship between things. He is not as big on coloring and currently if you ask his favorite color he will say "blue and yellow make green." He loves to be loud and particularly likes to make up his own songs. He loves construction things, tools, cooking, and mothering a baby doll. He is shyer and likes to be close to me, but he is very confident of himself physically so that he climbs and does everything on the playground. He is not a perfectionist; however, he also is very stubborn about doing things his way and on his own. He usually is a leader and plays pretty independently on his own when we go someplace where there are other children.

We worked on coloring some wooden snowflakes for Christmas presents. The snowflakes are about the size of a dessert plate and it has taken us two days. Each boy is coloring one side of each snowflake. Andy got tired of waiting for Doug to be ready to switch snowflakes after the first side. Doug got tired of coloring the first day because he colored almost every inch of his side. Andy's side only has about three colors and lots of blank space.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Blue day

It is a blue day because Andy went to preschool today with blue lips and teeth (it wouldn't all come off). This morning Doug invented a new topping for toast....toast with butter (to make it stick) and sprinkles. Andy just got a little carried away with the blue sprinkles....however the meal was well received by all three children.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Magic

I had almost forgotten about it until I was looking at someone else's blog who has kids that mention magic. It is kind of exciting to me (being a gifted teacher and loving creativity and pretend play) to see what Doug & Andy come up with on their own.
I was trying to get Doug & Andy to settle down for some quiet time today and Doug expressed interest in me napping with him on his bed. My thought was "oh, why the heck not...I could use a nap also."
As I lay there Andy came and joined us too. Neither boy slept but they talked the entire time so that I didn't get a nap but I at least got to lay down. Anyway, at one point Andy had something they were pretending was a wand. Andy would wave it and say "magic" and each time he said it Doug would either start acting silly or stop acting silly.
When I asked them if they had played that game with someone else the answer was "No mom, just us."
It's kind of exciting for me. The creativity...the imagination...the interest in things I like (fantasy).

What Holiday I am




You Are Easter



You are an optimistic, hopeful, and genuinely sweet person.

Sensitive and affectionate, you are easily touched.

You love nature, animals, and anything cute or cuddly.

For you, every day is a new chance - no matter what happened yesterday.



What makes you celebrate: Almost anything. You love most holidays and celebrations.



At holiday get togethers, you do best as: The peacemaker. You can prevent any squabbles that might break out.



On a holiday, you're the one most likely to: Remember to include everyone

Christmas Lights

I love it that people are starting to put up Christmas lights and other outside Christmas decorations. It is fun driving around with the kids and spotting the decorations and lights. I like looking at them and the kids are suitably appreciative. Usually Doug says "Oooo, that's cool."

The lights make me smile no matter what my day has been like.

Monday, December 1, 2008

(Some of) The Weight is lifted

I just turned in my final project for my survey research class....I really hope I didn't do something stupid like forget to print something. I think I will be happy if I don't see a chi-square table for a week or so.
Now on to the next project!
I will say if you are turning in final assignments please at least make an attempt to actually follow directions....if it is obvious that you just sort of threw something together and submitted it hoping that it would get past grading...well...well...it just won't work.